Should Ordinary Citizens Be Allowed To Own Guns?

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Gun ownership is a highly contentious matter in both South Africa and the rest of the world. Yet again, the issue has reared its head through the highly publicized Zimmerman trial in the US, as well as closer to home, in the Oscar Pistorius shooting scandal.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Whilst countries such as South Africa have relatively stricter gun laws in comparison to many other countries, violent gun crime is still rampant. Martin Hood, of the South African Gun Owners Association, argues that conviction rates for legal gun owners using firearms are very low at only 0.04%. He is insistent that criminals in the possession of guns, rather than law-abiding citizens, are to blame for South Africa’s notorious gun crime deaths. To put things into perspective, in South Africa, there are an estimated 6 million guns in the country, including both legal and unlicensed guns, to a population of roughly 50 million. However, at the same time, in the United States, there are currently 300 million guns possessed by a population of 315 million.

Many people insist on the use of guns as a means of self defense, especially in South Africa where up to 40 people are murdered each day in violent crimes. However, according to Alan Storey from Gun Free South Africa, many people actually put themselves at a greater risk of injury or death by having a gun within the house. This is exacerbated by the fact that nearly 2000 legal firearms owned by legitimate owners are stolen each month.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Whichever way you are inclined to look at it, the frequent occurrence of gun crimes is a harsh and sobering reality. Without guns, many accidental and unplanned deaths could be prevented; but is the reassurance of self-defense worth the potential risks that it causes? Whilst South Africa’s recent stricter firearm regulation stands out as a positive example amongst its international peers, the question remains; is enough being done by ordinary citizens to restrict the use of guns and the occurrence of gun crimes?

Written by Anoosh Arevshatian


  1. scott kilby
    April 2nd, 2014 at 09:07PM

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Why do people attack guns when we could use other things that can kill people like knives, rocks, and people even kill others with their bare hands. so why do you want to ban guns. Down in the south we actually use our guns for food sorry we aint no yankee motherfuck that don't have woods or creeks or rivers it aint our fault you live there why take our guns cause then your takein food from our mouth and on that hand your killin us so fuck u Obama and all the yankee son of a bitches that think guns should be banned

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